State Dept. celebrates global press freedom, while crushing it

UN Press Freedom Day announcement made as WikiLeaks' founder is jailed

On the very day WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange was arrested, the U.S. Department of State -- which is waging all-out legal, PR and cyberwar against WikiLeaks for releasing its private cables -- announced it is pleased to host UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day in 2011.

The three-day celebration in may will pay tribute to new media that have made it possible for repressed people around the world to express their opinions and make public information their oppressive governments tried to keep secret.

"We are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age," the announcement read in part.

Meanwhile, the guy who released the Pentagon Papers draws a direct, flattering parallel between his case and that of WikiLeaks, and an online hacktivist group called Anonymous maintained DDOS attacks on MasterCard and Visa to protest their withdrawal from participation in WikiLeaks' fund-raising efforts.

Luckily there isn't a passionate group of free-speech-loving Web-site owners and journalists out there pointing out the irony or hinting that the eat-your-cake and keep-it-secret-too stance of the State Department might be a touch hypocritical.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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